Angeles Requiem

Updated June 12, 2010

In the fall of 2009, a remote wildlife camera captured the Station Fire moving through a canyon in the San Gabriel Mountains. The camera was one of two placed in the Arroyo Seco between JPL and Switzer Falls, about a mile from where the fire originated. One camera was destroyed by the fire. This footage is from the one that survived.

For those of us who lived through the fire, this brings home the fury of the Inferno once again. For those who have asked us what is was like, here you go.

Thanks to Adi for sharing this. ~B~

Note: The video was offline for a time while edits were being made. As of June 12, 2010, the video is back online and contains several corrections.

For those of us who survived the fire as it roared through Big Tujunga Canyon, please bear in mind that this footage records the fire as it moved East of the Angeles Crest Highway. It does not record the fire as it moved through Big Tujunga. The events recorded here took place the day before the destruction of Big T.

From the author of the video:

This was recorded by a motion sensing camera, in a canyon on the front range of the San Gabriels. There were two cameras in this area. One burned completely, but this one was in a rocky stream bed away from anything flammable, and insulated by being anchored under a boulder.

About the Camera: Added 8 June 2010

The end of the video states that the camera used was an HCO ScoutGuard SG550. According to the manufacturer’s website, the camera features the following:

  • 5/3 Mega Pixels CMOS sensor, high quality picture
  • Auto LED IR-Cut-Remove
  • Compact size, well designed digital scouting camera (5-1/2X3-1/4X2 inches)
  • Ultra low stand-by power consumption (<0.2Ah/month), extreme durable and convenient with AA batteries (>80days)
  • Quick trigger time (<1.3s)
  • Lockable with mounting strap, nail/screw and cable lock
  • Innovative remote control, easy to operate

Although the manufacturer’s page doesn’t say so, I have been able to confirm that the camera casing is made of metal. Beyond that, all we can do is speculate that the camera’s placement was such that it was close to the water and away from vegetation that might have damaged it by burning.

For more information, please visit the link below.


19 replies on “Angeles Requiem”

  1. Mike McIntyre says:

    Is it possible to find out which canyon the camera was in. Impressive video.

    • Bronwen says:

      I believe the camera was in the Arroyo Seco between JPL and Switzer Falls, about a mile from where the fire originated.

  2. Thank you so much for making this available. A stunning record of a wildland fire.

  3. lonnie fehr says:

    ah he got cam back from area . he at first thought for sure from station fire it would of been destroyed .he also has website with some amazing pics videos of wildlife in angeles forest . yah the animals suffered, cabin owner right after fire found deer rats fox etc was found dead burnt up etc from station fire along brown mnt road . wander just how many did not survive . . the deer was here looking for food right after fire looked pretty thin , since rains came new plant growth there looking alot better now . hopefully mother nature can restore what man has destroyed . the costal live oak trees i was told will recover in 2-5 years ?? guess time will tell …… hopefully visitors will respect areas burnt and stay out of closed areas for it can recover . lonnie

  4. Ron says:

    Fire was here before us, fire will be here after us. We witnessed nature in it glory of life cycle. The destructive tone of this video is misplaced and out of touch. Mans impact have much more to do with the bears finding nothing to eat than the natural 1000 years old role of fire in the ecosystem.

  5. Marco Ramos says:

    I wasn’t expecting it, but I wept like child. Thank you, really

  6. gwyn sivertsen says:

    thanks for this vid and thanks to mother nature for the rains and bloom.

  7. Roger Klemm says:

    Very moving tribute, many thanks. I’ve been glad the rainfall was plentiful so there could be such good recovery (the wildflowers were absolutely stunning during most of May). Hopefully it will be a long time before any of this burns again.

  8. Justine says:

    Lonnie – “man” did not destroy anything. Wild fire is a natural and necessary process for forests to thrive. This forest should have burned years ago, but sadly, previous small fires were put out too early for this to happen. Educate yourself.

  9. Melvyn says:

    Very sad they should boil people that start fire like this, or Jail forever and ever…….

    • Bronwen says:

      Unfortunately, it is likely that this particular fire was started by an arsonist. There were a number of other fires burning at the same time, and investigators found traces of a substance at the fire’s point of origin which they believe may have accelerated the flames.

  10. Rosemarie S. White, Ph.D. says:

    I am part of the Greater L.A. Red Cross Disaster Response Team, Mental Health Division, and was deployed out to the Station fire. Thank you for making this available, and I would like to forward this to our Disaster Team members. It is very hard to watch. It goes beyond grief.
    Rosemarie White, Ph.D.

  11. Steve says:

    Interesting to mention the 90 homes burned in Big T; yet no mention of the two fire fighters killed by this fire… just a thought. Unbelievable video!

  12. An amazing video. My eyes welled up and I cried deeply, quietly from my heart.

    Wildfire is part of the natural cycle, but over a month’s worth? Many of the people in Altadena suffered sore throats, breathing problems, and I among others, got walking pneumonia. All I could think about were the poor animals and the glorious vegetation I had hiked in over my lifetime, even while forced to stay in bed.

    What type of housing was the camera in? I have a production company and am very interested in the technology.

    Deb Halberstadt
    HalfCity Productions

  13. Bob Zablocky says:

    Interesting to mention the two firefighters weren’t killed by fire but by mismanagement of human agencies. Interesting to mention the fire wasn’t a natural occurrence but caused by Man and exacerbated by Man’s error. Interesting to mention the destructive tone is hushed compared to the actual magnitude of the destruction if one were to actually walk in the actual forest and see the actual reality. One must become educated in more ways than by reading if one is not to be out of touch.

  14. Kevin says:


    Yes fire is a cycle here in california. However, there is a reason for the cycle, to keep the fires in check. Therefore, when the universe causes a fire there is a end to it through rain. However when madmen cause fires out of the cycle, then you get the devestation and horrable death of nature.

    Now the land is coming back in check of the cycle, thus deer and rodent will multiply, then bear, snake, cat and coyote will multilply upon that, then owl, hawk, crow, & condor multiply upon that until the vegitation chokes the land once again.

    Trees will need to be replanted in some inaccessable area to help. Meditation as well as action of love for the land must done for the land to heal.

  15. Bird Parker says:

    Cursed as we have been, we are blessed by the end and now, the beginning. What a miracle to witness here only what the dead could see.

  16. Lori L. Paul, RVT says:

    It is extremely simplistic to describe the recent catastrophic wildfires in California as “natural” and a part of a desirable cycle of life in our chaparral and local forests. California wildfires, like the Station Fire, the `93 Altadena Fire before that, the 2003 Cedar Fire in the San Diego backcountry, the 2007 Witch Creek Fire complex that caused massive evacuations in Sand Diego… and other fires… have burned too far, too fast and too hot. These were all human-caused environmental disasters, not natural lightning ignited fires that occur far less often and often burn differently. Powerlines, arson, careless campfires, etc. started these incredibly destructive fires that were then complicated by prolonged drought and sometimes driven by high winds.

    Check out the following California Chaparral Institute website links for more info. Each section is brief, but covers some essential points about wildfires often missed by the public and gov’t agencies. The founder of the CCI is a well-respected fire ecologist and former firefighter, Richard Halsey. He cites accurate scientific data and fire history. One of the greatest problems we face is a general misunderstanding about chaparral and fire. We also fail to recognize the consequences of housing tract build-out at the urban-wildland interface, unscientific fire suppression policies, bad fire management, and poor follow-on policies after fires. Bad fire policy is often generated out the need to deflect guilt, a fear of future fires and the need to placate an angry populace, and with political motives instead of a basis in good science. It is critical for the future that more of us attempt to comprehend the complexity of what has really happened, so we can make informed decisions and evaluate agency actions. Read the following to learn more:

    Chaparral Facts:

    Chaparral Myths:

    Fire & Nature:

    California Ugly:

    About the Station Fire:

    Impact of Fire on Human Communities:

    What is appropriate “Forest Restoration?”

    Protecting your home from wildfire:

    Yes, Nature can recover from horrific fires, most of the time. Recently, though, unnatural and too frequent human-ignited fires are causing the loss of native vegetation to invasive weed species that move in after fires and germinate after native “brush” has been cleared too severely. This is called “type-conversion,” which results in less biodiversity in our remaining wildlands. As bad, the invasive plants replacing native species are foreign grasses and shrub weeds that are even more flammable than natives. Everyone should be concerned with this insidious, widespread loss of natural habitat and with the increase in more flammable foreign species around our homes and recreational areas.

    One suspects that the U. S. Forest Service is largely responsible for what happened in the Station Fire. It is increasingly evident that they did not stop the fire at its outset, probably because they did not call in “costly” aircraft support and L. A. County Fire resources for help. Responsible agencies should’ve thrown everything they had at the fire immediately after it was spotted, before it blew out like a deadly amoeba in all directions, out of control. There is growing evidence that this fire was poorly managed, not just at its ignition, but also during its spread. We didn’t get aircraft here in Altadena until it was almost too late to save Millard Canyon and our homes. We waited at dawn for aircraft to come as the fire burned eastward from La Canada Flintridge into Altadena. We continued to wait until noon and thereafter, as the Forest was consumed. The firefighters with us were incredulous, but no one could get accurate information about what was going on. The way fire incident command and local evacuations were organized in Altadena was confusing and shamefully inept. We will live with the consequences of this mismanagement for many decades to come. The ancient oaks and wildlife that burned; all the surviving animals that were displaced by loss of forage; all the small creatures eliminated by post-fire floods, debris flows, and rock falls… All this is a tragedy that might have been prevented. That should haunt us all and those responsible.

    We rejoice in the wildflowers and recovering vegetation along the front range that begins the healing of Angeles Forest, but let’s not delude ourselves about the magnitude of human-caused damage that has occurred here… and in the Gulf of Mexico, for that matter. Let’s think about our responsibilities and what we can all do to prevent such disasters in the future.


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